I’m almost 30. In less than 2 weeks, I’ll be 30. I’ve never minded adding another number to my age but I have to admit that this number is kind of a hurdle. Those of you who have changed decades know what I mean. Most days I’m really excited because 30 means that this birthday will be bigger than the other birthdays. I get to have lots of parties (I’ve opted to celebrate with all my circles of peeps separately rather than having a big party with family and friends at the same time). I get to have lots of gifts and meals at restaurants and drinks. I get to be told how wonderful I am and how I deserve happiness and it reinforces the thoughts that are buried under the societal pressure and the insecurities (30 and no boyfriend, no kids, no house?): I’m one kick-ass woman!
My family knew that 30 was a big number so they planned for me to get one gift a day for 30 days. AWESOME! Usually a good friend of mine who lives close by will be delivering the gifts but sometimes my sister will appear or if I’m at the cottage with my parents, I get to receive the gifts live. It’s has turned the gift-fiend in me into even more of a gift-fiend. It’s not the materialistic aspect of gifts that makes me happy, it’s knowing that people thought of me, of who I am, and of what would make me smile. So far there are recurring themes in the gifts: flowers, blue, food. I’m a complicated woman but not that complicated. You give me one or two or three of these elements and I’ll give you the biggest smile you’ve ever seen. My sister writes little notes with all the gifts, on blue paper with blue ink! And the gifts are usually wrapped in paper or bags with flowers on them. Those are the little touches that remind me I’m loved. Why would I want that to stop?…But I know it has to. They said this was once in a lifetime and I already received 17 gifts. Sad.
I wanted to take pictures of all of them but sometimes I ate the gift before I could find my camera…
Are you curious as to what I got? No? I’m going to tell you anyway!
1- A hand-delivered letter (by my sister) announcing that I would be receiving one gift a day because even though I’m a mutant superhero (I have 6 lumbar vertebrae and I love capes: that makes me special), mutant superheros who face obstacles head-on still need a pick me up once in a while.
2- A beautiful little kalanchoe plant
3- Locking hooks for the pegboard in my workshop. My dad noticed that it wasn’t very efficient that the hook fell off the board every time I would grab the scissors.
5- 5 chocolate cupcakes with chocolate chips baked into them and chocolate icing. No picture. They were gone too quickly.
6- Blue duct tape. I love duct tape! I already duct-taped my antenna to my TV, just for the fun of it and I have plans to duct-tape many other things around my apartment. Maybe I would craft myself a wallet out of this duct tape. A friend of mine had a duct tape wallet when she lost her real one and I was always a little bit envious.
7- A little blue journal with flowers on it so I can chronicle my Corsica hike in the fall
8- Awesome trail mix with ingredients from a great store in Montreal (chocolate covered cranberries! Dried strawberries! BBQ almonds! Hazelnuts! Those peanuts with the red sugary coating! Yogurt covered raisins! Miam!)
9- Beef jerky to remind me of the trail and start my food bag for Corsica
10- A coupon for a free meal (i.e. my sister pays) at La Banquise. Best. Poutine. In. Town.
11- The fiction issue of the New Yorker. I know!
13- 3 handisnacks (the real ones: the ones with the crackers, not the sticks). I was hoping for 30 but 3 is better for my health. When I was a kid, I would eat them non-stop. I never buy them for myself because I have no self-control. My uncle worked at Kraft and sometimes he would give me a box of 24 and my mom had to hide them so I wouldn’t eat the whole box. Putting them on the top shelf of the pantry isn’t hiding them though. I’m was tall enough to reach them. Oh handisnacks, how you made me a happy youth.
14- A handmade blue stained glass frame (it combines with gift 16. See picture below)
15- Kitchen tongs. I didn’t have any. My fingers got scalded a few times.
16- A beautiful work of calligraphy by my mom. She drew a whale (because I’ve always loved whales) and wrote the Japanese word for Happiness in the Hirigana alphabet. The teamwork on this brings warmth to my heart and I believe this is the first handmade gift I’ve received from my mom. She’s given me so much over the years but to get something she sat down and made for me makes me a bit teary-eyed when I think about it. My mom wishes me happiness and my dad framed that in my favourite shade of blue. That one will be hanging above my bed so I can see it every day.
17- A shrimp mango salad recipe, on a blue notecard, that I will try out the next time my family eats over here this summer. Miam again!
So, there are 13 gifts left, which also happens to be my favourite number. Those people who say 13 is unlucky have it all wrong, if you ask me. Turning 30 feels a little painful at times, like being pushed towards a door you know you have to walk through but you’d much rather stay inside the room you’re in, where the atmosphere feels younger, and just go through the door when you feel ready for it (which let’s face it would probably be never if we were all honest with each other).
Still, I’m not 30 yet but I don’t really feel like I’m in my twenties either. Simple things clue me in to the fact that I’m much more grown-up than I was a few years ago. For example, most teens annoy me now (except those I actually know). They are loud and inconsiderate and sometimes just plain stupid. Just once, I want to yank a teenager’s pants upwards because I really don’t want to see his boxer shorts. The silly made-up teenage girls might think he’s cool but he’s not. I get to judge teenagers now because my teens are far behind. I kind of like that feeling. I am older and wiser and I know what lies ahead of them and wearing their pants mid-thigh really won’t help them (but it is funny to see them try to run after the metro).
My pastimes have changed. I’d choose a dinner with friends over a loud show. Heck, sometimes I would chose staying at home to sew or knit and watch movies over going out period. I haven’t gone to a concert in a while. I still listen to punk music (although I’ve mellowed out considerably and have branched out into other kinds of music as well) but the last show I went to, I went into the mosh pit for 2 seconds and decided there really was nothing fun about getting elbowed in the side and that jumping up and down in a sea of sweaty strangers was kind of tiring and gross. Now if I go to a show, I’m part of that crowd on the sidelines with elbows crossed over my chest and head nodding in time with the beat. Clearly, I’ve moved beyond the twenties.
Other details remind me that the group I’m going to join soon, the thirty-somethings, are where I belong (par la force des choses). It’s part of growing up. A good friend of mine told me that her sister wrote to her that “your 20s are for “practice” adulthood, during which you figure out what you love and how you want to live your life and what kind of person you want to live it with, and your 30s are for putting all that in place.” I believe she’s right and I can’t wait to see what my 30s will bring! I hope they bring more chocolate cupcakes…